Flanagan Law & Mediation
Mediation A method of Alternate Dispute Resolution
Our firm offers mediation services for Civil and Domestic cases, such as divorce, child custody, child support, parenting plan disputes and all contempt issues.
Beginning October 1, 2017, we will offer mediation services at the courthouse for domestic violence family law cases. Our service area includes Richmond, Columbia, Burke and McDuffie County, Georgia.
Mediation has been one of the most successful tools to resolve litigation issues, especially in family law cases where the law is not able to address the human factors.
What is the MEDIATION PROCESS
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, assists disputants in reaching an agreement settling part or all of their differences. The process is non-binding, unless an agreement is reached, and the mediator has no authority to decide the issues or force a settlement. The actual conduct of the mediation may vary depending upon the style of the mediator and the nature of the issues in your case.
The mediation session may occur at a neutral location, in a conference room or office. The mediator will seat the participants, usually with the disputants closest to the mediator, and attorneys (if present) on the other side of their clients. This is not a hard and fast rule.
The mediation, ordinarily a voluntary process, is private, informal, and confidential. There are no court reporters, stenographers, or court officers allowed to participate. The mediator will guide the conduct of the mediation without the formal rules of evidence or procedure used in a court proceeding. The parties may work with the mediator to establish some ground rules, time limits, and the necessity of future sessions.
The mediation usually begins in joint session with an introduction of the process by the mediator. Each party is then given an opportunity to express their points of view and feelings; after which, the mediator may move back and forth between joint and private meetings, called caucuses. During this process, the mediator assists the parties in clarifying interest, discussion areas of disagreement, identifying options for possible solutions, and if possibly, developing a Settlement Agreement.
Throughout the process, the mediator will focus on the parties and their interests, concerns, and perceptions. Because the mediator’s emphasis is on the parties and not the law, attorneys (if present) can be helpful in discussing legal principles and rights that may be involved. A common understanding of what is likely to occur if the case is litigated can have a positive influence on the mediation.
If a settlement is reached on all or part of the issues, the mediator may assist the parties in drafting the Settlement Agreement. The parties should then consult with their attorneys regarding the preparation of all legal documents.
For a more comprehensive understanding of the mediation process, here are some helpful articles that explain the mediation process and its benefits: